In comments Thursday on the House floor evidently in reference to an initiative from Congressional Republicans to undo recent changes to sentencing in Washington, D.C., Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) provided a succinct fact-check to the idea that locales with Democrats in charge, like the capital, constitute some kind of apocalyptic scene in terms of the rate of crime. He addressed both a Georgia Republican and Kevin McCarthy.
The changes that Republicans are targeting lower the maximum sentences for a series of violent criminal offenses. Often, defendants don’t even receive what is technically their maximum sentence, and it’s not as though the proposal — which members of the city council approved over the mayor’s objections — would altogether undo the possibility of serious consequences for violent criminals. Still, sponsor Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) claimed the “D.C. Council’s radical rewrite of the criminal code threatens the well-being of both Washingtonians and visitors — making our nation’s capital city a safe haven for violent criminals,” which in an objective sense just isn’t true.
Raskin condemned Clyde, who the Maryland Democrat said “seeks to associate Washington, D.C., with crime.” Republicans often stick to that line of argument, trying to credit Democrats for crime and violence no matter how many times Biden condemns violence or supports law enforcement. “[Clyde] and his colleagues constantly try to link images of crime to what they call Democrat-controlled cities,” Raskin observed. “So, I did some research last night just to clarify matters. The seven states with the highest murder rates in 2020 all were states that were majority for Donald Trump in the 2020 election. The murder rate in the states that voted for Trump was higher in aggregate than the murder rate in the states that voted for Biden in each year from 2000 to 2020. So, I would invite [Clyde] not to lecture the people of Washington, D.C., about crime rates.”
“The Speaker rose to talk about both yesterday’s resolution and today’s resolution,” Raskin continued, referencing McCarthy. “He also gave the people of Washington, D.C., a lecture about diluting the vote when he rejects their admission to the Union as a state. In other words, he’s trying to squelch and nullify their statehood drive that would give them real political equality in the country, and then he says the people of Washington, D.C., are diluting the vote!.. And then he joins the chorus denouncing crime in Washington, D.C., which is suddenly of concern to them — I’d not heard them mention that before. Well, it turns out that Bakersfield, California, has one of the highest crime rates in America, recently described as one of the top ten deadliest cities in America for its size. And its crime rate is higher than that of Washington, D.C.”
Raskin also outlined in further detail how the lack of legislative representation for the people of Washington, D.C., like the representation held by residents of other portions of the country constituted a simply serious problem — unlike the dilemmas imagined by those still clinging to the nonsensical idea that Trump actually won in 2020 or the similarly ludicrous claim that what happened at the Capitol on January 6 wasn’t actually all that bad. Check out Raskin’s commentary below: